Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre with each fibre made up of many microscopic ‘fibrils’ which can be released into the air by abrasion. Asbestos was regularly used in building works in Ireland up until the late 1990’s as it has particularly good insulation and fire-proofing qualities. The three main types of asbestos fibres that were regularly used in Ireland are blue (crocidolite), brown (amosite) and white (chrysotile). Asbestos was regularly used for insulating, flooring, roofing, and was also sprayed on walls and ceilings.
What are the health risks?
If the asbestos is disturbed in any way then the microscopic fibres can be released into the air and consequently breathed in. If a person inhales asbestos fibres over a period of time they can cause lung tissue scarring and shortness of breath. Asbestos is considered a carcinogen and can cause the development of asbestosis referred to above, lung cancer and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the lung lining cells. The onset of diseases arising from asbestos exposure can take a significant number of years to develop. It is not unusual for symptoms to develop 20 to 60 years after exposure.
Which jobs have most exposure to asbestos?
In general the following types of occupations in Ireland had some exposure to asbestos:
- Sheet metal workers
- Floor fitters
- Floor layers
- Construction workers
- Boiler insulators
- Dock workers
- Ship repairers
The above are not exhaustive and exposure has arisen with people who simply had worked in older buildings that had been constructed using asbestos related materials. Asbestos related illness can in many cases be extremely serious and debilitating and sadly can prove fatal. If you were exposed to asbestos during your working life and you have developed lung symptoms it may well be possible to take a case against your employer who negligently exposed you to the hazardous material.
The risks to employees will unfortunately remain high in Ireland for some years to come, with asbestos finds rising nearly 100 % in recent years as the economy recovers and sees an increase in building renovations and refurbishments.
Our personal injury compensation claims solicitors
If you were exposed to asbestos during your working life and have developed a lung condition you may be able to make a claim for compensation. It is important you seek advice as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. We believe in putting you our client first and we are committed to achieving the best result possible while all the time remaining sensitive to your needs. Please feel free to reach out to us below and will be pleased to discuss your case and offer no obligation advice.